Humans are the worst control system to put in front of a car.
– Peter Diamandis, a Greek–American engineer, physician, and entrepreneur
Shop floor control has a crucial role on the shop floor as it enables the management to see what is happening in real time. Shop floor control is necessary for any manufacturing, assembling or processing business. Shop floor control systems can increase the productivity substantially and in turn the ROI of the enterprise.
Let us now understand in detail about Shop Floor Control (SFC) and the Shop Floor Control System (SFCS).
It is a system that has methods and tools, which are used to track, schedule and report progress of the work in a manufacturing unit.
The better the shop floor control, the better the inventory and operations control, and the better is the productivity of the workers. Performance and ROI of a manufacturing business varies directly in proportion to the shop floor control.
It is a software system used to track, streamline and report the work progress in a manufacturing unit. SFCS can evaluate a portion of an order or an operation that has been completed. It provides the insight into the work in process. These insights are useful for planning the resources, evaluating the inventory, and increasing the staff productivity on a shop floor.
For example − A few popular shop floor control systems which help to capture and monitor shop floor information in detail are −
Let us now discuss the Objectives and the Benefits of the Shop Floor Control Systems.
Here are some important objectives of SFCS −
To provide total control over shop floor activities, inventory and resources.
To streamline the operations and reduce production cycle times.
To provide real time data related to activities, inventory and resources.
To provide accurate updates on machine usage, man hours for each staff member, payroll calculations and timely alerts to potential problems.
Here are some prominent benefits that SFCS offers −
It is paperless.
It provides total visibility to what happens on the shop floor.
The supervisors and managers find themselves empowered as the SFCS facilitates them to monitor complete range of operations and activities carried out on the shop floor.
It alerts the staff member regarding any upcoming problem beforehand to limit or eliminate the loss of property or time.
It provides real time data, which is quantifiable and actionable.
It provides planning and scheduling of shop floor operations thereby increasing efficiency of workers.
It eliminates the errors in calculations machine time, man hours, worker payrolls and much more.
It reveals operational vulnerabilities and staff as well as resource related problems and helps to address them in time.
It makes decision making easy for the management by providing reports.
It drives the ROI of a manufacturing business.
There are four fundamental elements of shop floor control system. They are −
Communication − Exchange of messages within the SFCS.
Data Management − Storing, Rewriting, Deleting, appending and Recording the real-time data.
Processing − Accessing data and processing it for quantifiable readings and calculations.
User Interface − Easy to learn, user friendly, clear instructions and notifications with touchscreen UI that speeds up the tasks.
Here are some vital key features of SFCS −
Flexibility − The SFCS should accommodate changes in volume of product or the product itself.
Inter-operability − The SFCS should be coherent enough to work on various hardware and software platforms.
Portability − The SFCS should be able to work cross-platform. If it is working on a certain hardware platform and operating system, then it should also work on another hardware platform and operating system, which can be achieved by standard programming language and standard operating system calls.
In the next chapter, we will discuss in detail what Shop Floor Control is.